An Army veteran Michael D. Nash of Louisville is suing the US government for $10 million after a VA nurse caused him to have penis frostbite and gangrene by applying ice packs after a surgery, leading to partial amputation of the vital organ.
NY Daily News reports that the veteran filed the suit Tuesday at the U.S. District Court. According to CNN, Nash is suing the US government for negligent care. His lawyers are asking for damages because Nash suffered "significant mental and emotional distress and trauma as a result of his injuries."
According to NY Daily News, Nash, 61, served in the US Army in 1968 and 1969. He was admitted to the Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky on October 28, 2010 for removal of a malfunctioning penile implant.
Nash's attorney Larry Jones, of Jones Ward law firm in Louisville, said that after the surgical procedure, a nurse packed Nash's groin with ice for 19 hours. CNN reports that according to court documents, the ice packs were applied to reduce pain and swelling. But it was kept in place continuously for 19 hours in "violation of the standard of care."
NY Daily News reports that gangrene set in and doctors finally had to conduct a partial penectomy that involved removing five inches of Nash's penis. According to Jones, Nash will need reconstructive surgery before he can urinate like any normal person.
NY Daily News reports Jones said: "It basically caused frostbite on his penis, which eventually caused gangrene. In addition to robbing someone of their manhood, they've robbed him of the simple ability to urinate just like every other person who lives in this world."
According to CNN, the attorney said: "When you take away a man's manhood, it affects him in ways you can't imagine." Jones added: "Any doctor who is monitoring the care of their patient is not going to allow someone to have constant treatment with ice... for more than 2-3 hours."
Nash now needs a catheter and he has lost normal sexual function.
Gawker reports that Jones said: "It's about the most blatant medical malpractice error one could make. It's a senseless tragedy that should never have happened."
Nash tried to claim compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act, a civil procedure in which the plaintiff files a claim with the government that prevents him from suing until a decision has been taken with regard to the claim.
The Department of Veterans Affairs rejected the claim in July. NY Daily News reports that according to Melinda Frick, an Indiana-based regional counsel for the VA., "It is our opinion that there was no negligence on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs or any of its employees in connection with the claimed loss; therefore your claim is denied."
According to CNN, Dr. Bruce Kava, associate professor of clinical urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that usually after a penile implant surgery, ice is applied to the groin with several layers of gauze. He said that Nash's case is unusual. He also said that it was unusual that the patient would be unable to feel the effect of the ice.
However, Jones explained that at the time, Nash was in great pain and he could not question the nurse's actions. Jones also said that Nash was discharged from hospital in spite of the fact that he complained to hospital staff that he was in pain.
According to the lawsuit, Nash suffered significant damage.He said: "If this was someone who had a little frostbite and a little burning for a couple of days, there would be no suit. I would not wish this on my worst enemy."